Just over six months after he lost both his lower legs in a hit and run accident just outside Newmarket, Shaun Whiter is preparing to take part in a 150-mile sponsored cycling event.
Using a special hand cycle he will be joining 100 riders on the two-day marathon Tour of Suffolk, starting on May 14, as part of the Ipswich Town FC team.
“I wanted to take on this challenge not only on a personal level but also to say thank you for everything Ipswich Town FC has done for me,” said the former Newmarket footballer.
“It has only been just over six months since my accident and I feel I have come a long way already and that is due to the support of the amazing people I have around me and the people I have met along the way.”
Shaun and his fiancee, Charlotte Way, live in Burrough Green where they plan to marry this summer and where Shaun is using the quiet country lanes to train and perfect his technique on his hand cycle, which he has only had for around six weeks.
“I really don’t know how far I will get,” he said.
“Going down hill I can get up to around 35mph, it’s going up the other side.”
Before the accident Shaun was not only playing football regularly but also cycling – he took part in a 24-hour London to Paris event – and competing in triathlon and half-Ironman events.
He is now learning to use prosthetic limbs, attending specialist clinics at Chesham in Buckinghamshire and at Addenbrooke’s where he was initially treated after the accident.
“It’s a challenge,” said Shaun, “as basically for every step an able-bodied person takes I would take three, but I am getting there and come July I could be let loose on a pair of running blades.”
Half of the money Shaun raises will go to the East Anglian Air Ambulance, which saved his life and rushed him to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for surgery.
“Last year Ipswich Town, along with Newmarket Town, arranged a charity football match which was a huge goal for me to work towards coming out of hospital for. Ipswich then invited me down to the training ground to meet all of the players, manager Mick McCarthy, and the team from the air ambulance, this was an amazing day and one I will never forget,” said Shaun.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without their help and support which is why I wanted to help them and take part in this charity bike ride.”
To help Shaun’s fundraising, go to Virgin Money Giving Shaun and Lee Tour de Suffolk.